How to onboard employees remotely

Introducing new starters can be difficult at the best of times but it is made that much harder when you are onboarding remote employees. So, how do you welcome, set-up and train new members of staff, when you’re working-from-home?

In this article we will look at onboarding strategies for remote employees and the things you need to think about when employing new staff. We’ve recently adopted remote working ourselves and it’s not been without its difficulties. So, we hope our thoughts help you anticipate some of the potential pitfalls.

6 onboarding strategies for remote employees

1. First impressions count

First impressions are important for all businesses, regardless of whether they have an office presence or not.

You need to ensure laptops, internet, phones, software etc are all set-up and ready to use for your new starters first day. There is nothing worse than not being prepared and your new recruit being left twiddling their thumbs. It can make you look unprofessional and unorganised.

2. Communication

When onboarding remote employees, you need to consider the way you communicate with them, ensuring they’re involved with the company and that they feel welcome. Feeling part of a wider team is a key motivator for staff across the UK. In a recent survey 45% of employees consider their colleagues one of the most important elements of their job.

As you know, there can be a large gap between the acceptance of a job offer and the start date. So, don’t wait until they officially start. Speak with them prior to see how they’re feeling and allay any of their concerns. Introduce them to their line manager and immediate team members with a casual video chat. A card and a coffee mug arriving at their home go a long way. It’s also important that you help them feel part of the team before they start so when they do join the company, they feel welcome from the get go!

3. Introduce your company culture

It can be difficult when onboarding remote employees for them to truly understand your company culture. You need to introduce unique ways of showcasing your company culture and include your new employees in the process. If you take time to onboard your team correctly you will see a significant improvement in job retention.

A great way of doing this is to host quiz nights via zoom, weekly work lunches via skype or general chats to see how the team are. You need to be able to have fun with your team, as well as working.

4. Personal mentors

Providing your new recruits with a personal mentor can be very beneficial to them and your business. As you have probably realised by now, making your new employees feel welcome is so important. A personal mentor stands outside of the management structure but is someone they can ask questions to, without feeling it reflects on their work. A great mentor is usually someone of the same, or equivalent position, who has maybe recently gone through the same experience. So, if you can provide them with a personal mentor who can guide them through the earlystages of their new role, this will help them feel welcome, safe and respected.

5. Provide the all-important details

When someone new joins a business they’re usually provided with the all-important details. From who’s in charge to payday and pension schemes. When a recruit joins a company, they learn early on who fills which role, just from being in the office. However, when you are onboarding remote employees it can be tricky for the employee to remember who fills which role.

So, it’s a good idea to create an organisation chart, showing them not just the structure of the business but who exactly to contact regarding a query with your car, tax code, childcare vouchers etc. If you include photos with your organisation chart it’s the chance for the new starter to put faces to names.

6. Feedback

Receiving feedback from your team is a simple yet effective way for you to uncover your teams needs. It is especially important now, during such challenging times to ensure you’re finding out how you can help your employees.

Creating a feedback culture isn’t just for long-term colleagues, it’s also crucial in the early stages of onboarding remote employees. From surveys to one-to-ones, there are a number of great ways to find out how your onboarding strategies for remote employees is working. It means you can continue to develop your onboarding practicesand make improvements where necessary.

Onboarding remote employees

We hope our top 5 onboarding tips will help you when it comes to introducing new starters to your business and wider team. It is an especially difficult time for companies who have not incorporated remote-working into their company before. It’s understandable if this is a bit daunting for you. If you do need any help, guidance or would like to speak to us about remote opportunities you are looking to fill, then please be in touch with Sue Waters.

Remote employee onboarding checklist

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate!
  • Introduce your company culture in unique ways
  • Be, or provide a personal mentor to your new starters
  • Provide the all-important details
  • Incorporate a feedback culture from the beginning